April 5, 2012

Give first or take first?

Negotiations in general are mainly about “give and take” after a certain baseline has been reached by the negotiators. If they have the neccessary experience, both sides of the table know that they will be trading some of their “valuables” to be able to come to a mutual understanding on the issue at hand.

Francis Flynn, a professor of organizational behavior, based on his research shows that giving first and then asking for something increases the chance of getting a bigger portion of that something compared to asking for that something first and giving afterwards. People have the tendency to reciprocate much more easily.

In our projects we make a list which contains the points our clients can offer to their prospective partners. (It doesn’t mean that we will give all of them away.) Depending on the requests of each possible potential partner we accept one or more of them in line with our own list of points. He feels happy and has seen us coming forward to make a deal. He feels indebted to grant us a favor when we ask for it.

The important issue is about the timing of asking for the reciprocal favor. Should we ask for it immediately after we have accepted his request or at a later time?

Professor Flynn has the answer: “…  favors were initially valued more by receivers than by givers following an episode of favor exchange. However, givers increased their favor evaluations and receivers decreased their favor evaluations as time passed.” So… ask for it asap. :-)

If you want to read more about the research made by Francis Flynn, please visit his site  www.francisflynn.com.

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